NJ climate crisis activists lobby Congress
Ananya Singh is 16.
The climate crisis is a very real threat to my generation.
Soak the Rich graphic in yellow
NJ ranks 12th-highest in income inequality.
And NJ has a budget crisis.
Babs Siperstein at 2016 Democratic Convention
Honoring the late Equality Rights Heroine BABS SIPERSTEIN
Gov. Murphy’s eulogy
The Political Power of Women’s Anger
WATCH. Before pink pussy hats, Hillary, the Midterms.
History of ignoring women’s anger to keep organizing down. Boom, like that. WATCH.
Covington Catholic HS boy
That white boy smugness.
Do you know it as well as Jim Keady does?
Green New Deal House protest
Green New Deal is PRIORITY.
Where does our new House delegation stand?

Latest Posts

Penguins over politicos

The Academy Award nominations for best documentary are an annual scandal, and this year is no exception. But the fact that Werner Herzog’s fascinating character study Grizzly Man was conspicuously absent from the list of nominees shouldn’t blind anyone to the quality of what did get nominated, and for New Jersey residents it’s particularly interesting to see Street Fight, Marshall Curry’s fine documentary about the sulfurous 2002 mayoral race in Newark, standing tall among the nominees. Apparently more than a few New Jersey political junkies had fantasies of seeing Newark mayor Sharpe James and his antagonist Cory Booker in the audience on Oscar night, but ’tis not to be. Anyway, the odds-on favorite to win is March of the Penguins, and as much as I enjoyed that film, I’d love to see endearing penguins get muscled aside by political vultures. A man can dream, can’t he?

Cross-posted at The Opinion Mill.

Anti-sprawl and NJ Dems

I’m not trying to start trouble, but I am looking for answers.  It’s my (Monmouth County) experience that local Dems are not on the “right side” of the sprawl issue.  The GOP around here (take Amy Handlin as an excellent example) are always joining up with groups against new developments, road widening, etc.

Is this the case statewide?

I see a few possible underlying issues.  If Democrats are more pro-labor, and construction unions are better organized here than others, then we wind up on the pro-development side.  Secondly, there is clearly a partnership between developers and low-income and minority communities on the affordable housing issue.  (I’m all in favor of affordable housing, but not as the “silver lining” for huge market-price developments, which is often how they are ramrodded through.)

I hope others can inform me and/or set me straight.

Science 101 on Capitol Hill

I don’t like to praise Republicans, but Boehlert of NY took a positive step for science by bringing together staff and pols for a discussion of what counts as science. Of course, it’s the GOP that abolished the advisory agency on science during Gingrich’s reign. From the NY Times:

Where Science and Public Policy Intersect, Researchers Offer a Short Lesson on Basics

…when scientific questions pervade legislation on issues like climate change and stem cell research, there is growing concern that Congressional misunderstanding can produce misguided policy.

To fight such misunderstanding, Mr. Boehlert and others sponsored the Jan. 23 briefing, organized by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard…

Some criticize these briefings as little more than showboating. But Mr. Boehlert, like many others, thinks they are “absolutely” useful. And the briefing was unusual in that its subject was not avian flu, the budget for NASA or any other relatively narrow issue, but rather “how science works.”

And of course, Rush Holt is all in favor.

And some on Capitol Hill, notably Representative Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat and a physicist, say Congress should address the lack of knowledge and understanding of science by establishing something similar to the Office of Technology Assessment, an agency that advised Congress until it was abolished after Republicans won control of the House in 1994. Prospects for that are uncertain. 

Not everyone thought defining science was even possible, in such a short session. “It makes me extremely tired that they are going to do this again,” said Sheila Jasanoff, a professor of science and technology studies at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who has written widely on how science policy is made. “There is no easily graspable definition”…

But the briefing’s subject apparently struck a chord. More than 100 committee staff members, Congressional aides and at least one senator, Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, crammed into a basement meeting room. With all of the seats filled, people leaned on walls, sat on the floor and spilled out into the hall.

Dr. Eric Chivian, who directs the Harvard center, said he got the idea for the briefing while following the debate over intelligent design and noticing what he called widespread misunderstanding about science.

Union County Deer Hunt

Nobody can deny that Union County has a deer problem. There are carcasses rotting on the sides of the roads, faster than the road crews can properly dispose of them. Therefore the county has agreed to a deer hunt to hopefully quell the problem for the time being.

From the Record Press:

While the township awaits state approval for a comprehensive deer management effort in the Ash Brook Reservation, the county has allowed a wildlife management company to begin culling deer from the county parkland. As of Tuesday afternoon 19 deer had been killed, according to county spokesman Sebastian D’Elia.
Beginning Saturday, marksmen working for Wildlife Management Services of Mountainside began shooting the animals. The program will continue under normal hunting regulations until the end of hunting season, Feb. 11.

I don’t think that anyone wants to kill the deer (think-Bambi) but it is a necessary measure to ensure the safety of motorists.

Who Shot Jr.?

Wally Edge reports that the “greed train” had Tom Kean Jr. as a passenger as well.

The Jedi Mind Trick induced by dropping the Jr. works so well, it even works on the campaign management staff:

volunteers at Union Station stood under a banner saying “Senator Tom Kean Welcomes You to Washington,” and handed out buttons that said “Tom Kean, Jr. for U.S. Senate.

Also interesting to note, is that the Star Ledger reported the buttons to read something else:

State Sen. Tom Kean Jr., the presumptive GOP U.S. Senate nominee, handed out buttons that cryptically read “T2.”

So which is it? Jr. or no Jr.? Is he T2 like the Terminator sequel? He certainly is acting like that shape shifting cyborg on this name issue.

Wally Edge drops the Jr. in his post. I know many media outlets will be doing the same.

Media folk, until Tom Kean Jr.’s campaign makes up its mind on the Jr., why not refer to him by his legal name. Which includes the Jr.

Essex County, Brick Twp expected to pass Domestic Partner benefits

Essex County may soon becomes the ninth county to pass domestic partner benefits:

In a surprise policy directive during his annual State of the County address last night, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. proposed extending pension and health benefits to the domestic partners of county employees.

DiVincenzo’s proposal is not expected to face opposition in Essex, with several freeholders pledging their support for the resolution. Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold called it absolutely the correct thing to do.

Inspired by Laurel Hester, Brick Township will likely become the second municipality in Ocean County to grant the benefits:

“I don’t think anybody’s going to have a problem with it,” Township Council Vice President Stephen C. Acropolis said after Mayor Joseph C. Scarpelli proposed the resolution at the Jan. 24 council meeting. “It’s very good.”

“It appears the council will approve it,” Scarpelli said. “I think it’s going to make people’s lives better.”

The catalyst for this public policy change can be found in Point Pleasant resident Lt. Laurel Hester.

The Record Forgets Democrats

Amazingly, the Record came out and slammmed five Repbulican Congressmen who voted for the odious budget bill that passed the other day:

THUMBS DOWN to the five New Jersey Republican congressmen, including Scott Garrett of Wantage and Rodney Frelinghuysen of Harding, who supported a budget bill that essentially helps pay for tax cuts for the rich on the backs of seniors, the poor and college students.

The bill, which passed by just two votes, cuts Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps, and raises interest rates on student loans. It’s particularly galling that the vote came one day after President Bush announced a push to enhance American competitiveness through education. How does raising the costs of college help with that?

Then they applauded Republican Chris Smith

THUMBS UP to the sole New Jersey Republican, Chris Smith of Hamilton, and 12 other Republican representatives from around the nation who had the courage to break with their party and vote against this legislation. Perhaps these Republicans could lend some of their backbone and compassion for ordinary people to the rest of New Jersey’s GOP delegation.

Considering the entire NJ Democratic House delegation voted against this bill twice wouldn’t it be nice if the Record noticed that?  It’s not just Republicans in the House, even if DeLay Inc. would like us to think so.

The Progressive Caucus Needs You

If you participated in the meeting of the Progressive Caucus of the New Jersey Democratic State Commitee that we held in Piscataway on Saturday, January 28, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If you were unable to attend, consider this to be a second chance at participating in the Progressive Caucus. One of the many exciting accomplishments of this meeting was the first steps that we took in the development of an issues platform for the caucus.